"How they made book two a TV series," states one TikTok posted after the release of season two of "Bridgerton." In the video, a hand plucks a copy of Julia Quinn's 2001 book "The Viscount Who Loved Me" off of a bookshelf.
Then promptly throws the book across the room.
While Julia Quinn's original Bridgerton series was first released in 2000, the romance novels had a renaissance after the Netflix series premiered in 2020. As an especially beloved installment in the series, many fans were especially excited to see the plot of "The Viscount Who Loved Me" translated to the screen.
But when season two premiered on March 25, viewers found the storylines almost unrecognizable, sparking many a TikTok reaction set to the viral sound: "What happened to the original plot of the movie?"
Several changes were welcomed, such as the show's diverse approach to the Regency. Whereas the book focuses on Mary, Kate and Edwina Sheffield, newcomers from the countryside, the show sees the Sharma family sailing to London from Bombay. "Bridgerton" weaves the Sharmas' South Asian culture into the story through the inclusion of a Haldi ceremony, an orchestral cover of "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" and more.
The change was “a very simple choice,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes told Shondaland, aligning with the show’s goal to make the Regency match the show's own global audience.
“I wanted to feel like the world we were living in was as three-dimensional as possible, and I wanted to feel like the representation was as three-dimensional as possible too. Finding some South Asian women with darker skin and making sure that they were represented on-screen authentically and truthfully feels like something that we haven’t seen nearly enough of,” Rhimes said.
And though the love interests in "Bridgerton's" sophomore season are the same as Quinn's book, Kate and Anthony's road to a resolution takes a much different route.
Here are the ways "Bridgerton" differs from Quinn's book "The Viscount Who Loved Me"
The love triangle between Anthony, Kate, and Edwina is heightened in 'Bridgerton'
While "Bridgerton" season two focuses on the love story between Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), the show heightens the drama by incorporating a love triangle involving Kate's younger sister, Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran).
Edwina hopes to marry for love, and is instantly attracted to Anthony's candor and duty to his family. But Anthony sees marrying Edwina as his duty, and isn't looking for love.
When Edwina tells Kate that she is in love with Anthony, she complicates the growing chemistry between her sister and the viscount.
"We have to remember that the Anthony that she sees is perfectly curated for her to fall in love with."
Chandran told TODAY that while Edwina's feelings of love were true, they were also clouded by Anthony's manipulation of her. "We have to remember that the Anthony that Edwina sees is perfectly curated for her to fall in love with," she said.
In the book, Edwina and Anthony’s courtship is primarily a plot device to introduce Kate and Anthony. All readers knew of Edwina's desires is her dream of marrying a "scholar." And while she graciously receives Anthony's courtship, she is not described as having any real feelings towards the viscount.
Edwina takes the spotlight in the show
Going into the 1814 social season, Edwina Sheffield of Quinn's novel hopes to find a match, but is not particularly specific as to what she desires.
But in the show, Edwina Sharma knows exactly what she wants and is empowered to make her own independent choices to achieve those dreams.
Going into filming, Chandran knew she wanted Edwina to be her own person, more than Kate's younger sister. "I did not want to do the plot if Edwina was just going to be a vehicle for someone else's story," she told TODAY.
Turning Edwina from a "plot device" into an an independent character happened gradually, as the show's creators saw Chandran further embody the character. "It (was) such an organic and collaborative process," she said.
Part of Edwina's expansion was informed by the show's new storylines. In the book, Edwina and Anthony's relationship never progresses past surface niceties. However in the show, Edwina develops real feelings and Anthony proposes to her.
"I think she ultimately thought Anthony is not it. She can do better.”Charithra Chandran
Arguably, Edwina's breakout moment comes in the sixth episode, during her wedding to Anthony. In a flash, Edwina understands the nature of the feelings between her sister and her fiancé. She realizes she is responsible for her own destiny: She can choose whether or not to marry Anthony, and she chooses not to.
Edwina's decision to turn down Anthony's marriage is two-fold, Chandran said. On one hand, Edwina acts out of "love for herself" to find someone who will return all the affection she can give.
"And I think she ultimately thought Anthony is not it," Chandran said. "She can do better."
The Sharma sisters have a strained relationship in the show
Another new aspect of Edwina's character development is her journey towards forgiving Kate. After Edwina learns the true extent of what Kate hid from her, the sisters' relationship turns icy. But in the end, the fear of losing Kate after her accident reminds Edwina what matters most.
“When you think you’re going to lose someone like that, all is forgiven really,” Chandran said.
Ultimately, though, the core of the relationship remains the same. Much like in the book, the Sharma sisters feel only devotion and love to each other.
“I think that moment put it into perspective of what matters to Edwina and ultimately that is her sister and her relationship with her sister,” she said.
Kate and Anthony's first kiss happens earlier in the book
Season two of “Bridgerton” is classified as a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance. Any time Kate and Anthony are together, sparks fly, but are never ignited. That is until episode six, when they finally kiss in the church after Edwina calls off the wedding.
Quinn’s original book doesn’t take Anthony and Kate's romance at the same slow pace. Early on in the book, Kate sneaks away from a party at the Bridgerton House for a moment alone. When she hears Anthony approaching, she ducks into the nearest room — which turns out to be none other than his office.
Anthony brings in a guest, the opera singer Maria Rosso, and discovers Kate hiding under his desk. When he confronts her about her hiding spot, the two spar over their mutual hatred — and then acknowledge their attraction. In a spontaneous moment of passion, the two kiss in Anthony’s office and instantly regret it.
The reason for Anthony’s fear of love is darker in the book
At the end of season one of "Bridgerton," Anthony resolves to finally settle down and find a wife. He stipulates, however, that he will do this without falling in love. After his affair with opera singer Siena Rosso ends in heartbreak, Anthony resolves to not subject himself to its pain again.
In the book, Anthony also decides to marry without love — but for a darker and more specific reason. His logic can be found in the book's first sentence: “Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young.”
In “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” teenage Anthony witnesses his father die at age 38 from a bee sting. In the eyes of the eldest son, Edmund Bridgerton is the greatest man who had ever lived, impossible to surpass — even in years.
With this conviction of his own early death, Anthony hopes to marry so that he can die having fulfilled his responsibilities. His feelings toward his own assumed impending death are peaceful. Love is the only thing that could disrupt his outlook and leave him desperate for more time.
Kate's fear of thunderstorms has a backstory in the book
Just like Anthony is scared of bees, Kate has her own fear: thunderstorms. While episode four features a scene of both Kate and Anthony finding refuge in the library of Aubrey Hall on a stormy night, it's nothing like the fan favorite scene from the book.
Unable to sleep, Kate looks for a book to distract herself from the rain. When it starts thundering, she descends into panic and hides under a table. Anthony finds her shaking and unable to communicate. He holds her hand and draws her close as the storm wears on. When the thunder subsides, Kate doesn't remember how she got there.
Like Anthony, Kate's phobia stems from childhood trauma of her own. Kate's mother dies when she is three. A thunderstorm woke Kate up to witness her mother's last moments as she succumbed to lung disease. As her mother dies, her mouth is open, gasping for air. Toddler Kate thinks the sound of the thunder is coming from her dying parent.
Though she can't remember the incident, Kate forever associates thunderstorms with her mother's death. With Anthony's help during the worst of storms, Kate learns to cope with her fear.
Kate and Anthony are forced into marriage in the book
Pay attention to an incident in episode three of the show, when Sharmas visit the Bridgerton country estate, Aubrey Hall. Kate and Anthony fight in the garden and a bee lands on Kate's jacket.
Anthony goes completely still, a look of terror on his face. When Kate moves to shoo to bug away, it stings her, and Anthony descends further into panic, asking if she can breathe while struggling to do so himself. She places his hand over her beating heart to prove that she is unharmed, while the pace of their breathing falls in line. They look at each others lips and draw closer — before a horse neighing alerts them to another presence.
The tense moment elevates the chemistry between the characters. But in the book, the bee sting represents so much more.
In "The Viscount Who Loved Me," after Kate is stung by a bee at Aubrey Hall, Anthony attempts to remove the stinger, terrified that she will share the same fate as his father. When he can't find the stinger, he attempts to suck the venom out himself, placing his mouth on her chest.
It's at that precise moment of intimacy that Kate and Anthony are discovered by Mary Sharma, Violet Bridgerton and Lady Featherington. Caught in a "comprising position," Kate and Anthony are forced to marry a little more than halfway through the book.
Kate's accident plays a different role
The climax of season two of "Bridgerton" comes when Kate rides through the pouring rain, falls off her horse, and hits her head. Anthony, who intended to propose to her, watches in horror. Kate remains for unconscious for an extended period of time, leaving many worried for her health. When she recovers, Anthony realizes that he loves her, leading to their happily-ever-after.
In the book, however, Anthony and Kate are already married when the accident happens. Kate is in a carriage with one of Edwina's suitors, which veers off course and crashes. When Anthony witnesses Kate almost die, he realizes the depth of his feelings for her and finally gets over his fear of letting himself fall in love. In the carriage crash, Kate is unconscious for only a second, but is bed-ridden with a broken leg.
The end result? A tale of two "Bridgertons"
While the resolution between the show and novel are the same, the journeys vary greatly. To stave any reader's disappointment at not seeing their favorite scenes come to life, fans have pointed out that now we get two stories of how Kate and Anthony fall in love.
"While I was watching I was giggling and blushing and overly happy just like I was when I read the book," one TikToker posted. "Now I can read the book and do it all over again without being bored."